"Temporary" buildings finally live up to their names
At long, long last, the "Temporary" buildings crumbled under the claw of an excavator last week, making way for something far more permanent- the Engineering Centers Building (ECB).
"We've worked long and hard to say good bye to these buildings," says Dean Emeritus John G. Bollinger. "Those buildings were an eyesore to the west end of campus. If those walls could have talked they'd have had a lot of stories to tell, but all you would have heard is them screaming for the wrecking ball."
T-21, T-22, T-23, T-24 and T-27 were all that remained of a collection of military surplus buildings brought to campus from Wisconsin military posts at the end of World War ll. Twelve-thousand veterans helped set a record university enrollment in 1946. Space was in demand and the "temporary" buildings supplied an important part of the relief.
Over the years, the "T" buildings housed classrooms, offices, a cafeteria and research labs. "T" building researchers produced everything from Tokamaks to the Engine Research Center, now a U.S. Army Center of Excellence.
"Those buildings represented generations of hard work and sacrifice," says College of Engineering Dean Paul S. Peercy. "It makes a particularly fitting home for a building that will help usher in a new age of engineering and research."
Construction of the Engineering Centers Building will begin this summer with a formal groundbreaking set for June 20. As a whole, the 135,000 square foot facility [The gross area is over 200,000 square feet; the 130,000 is assignable space.] is designed to aid in combining the talents of researchers in engineering and related disciplines to work toward common goals. The floor plan was laid out with maximum flexibility in mind.
Students, in particular, will enjoy the new facilities. Until recently, T-21 was home for a handful of engineering student organizations. T-27, home to the student automotive projects, will be the last to come down. There have been little or no facilities for the other groups spread across campus. ECB's basement and first floor solves this problem by focusing on undergraduates, providing offices, shop space and auditoria for all engineering student organizations. Like the floors above, it seeks to encourage a great diversity of people and interests to work together while providing individual space and amenities.
"This is an excellent way to start the new millennium," Peercy says.